The Town of Canaan Assessment Roll is available online by clicking HERE
To VIEW or PAY Canaan tax bills and payment status online, please click HERE
SPECIAL NOTICE: 2013-2014 Transfer Station Permit Stickers for Canaan Residents Only are now available at Town Hall during office hours (M,W,Thur,F 9:30am-2:30pm and Thur. 6:00pm-8:00pm). By mail: Address to Canaan Town Clerk, PO Box 459, Canaan, NY 12029, include your name, physical address in Canaan, License Plate number and a self-addressed, stamped envelope for return. One Permit Sticker only per residence. Please choose the one vehicle you will be using to bring refuge to the Station. Stickers must be fixed to a passenger side window.
A message from the Town Board!
Fellow Canaan Residents:
As Town Board members we have continued to make improvements to Canaan’s infrastructure while using less of your tax dollars each year. Despite reductions in our transfer station fees, mortgage tax revenues and building permit fees due to real estate conditions, coupled with a significantly higher expense contribution to the New York State Retirement System, the Board reduced the Town of Canaan tax levy by another 0.3% in 2012. In four years the Board has reduced Town taxes by 22.5%, or approximately $150,000.
While taxes have been reduced the Town has continued to contribute to capital reserves; purchase new equipment; improve our Town Hall, Stoddard Field and roads; and finally completed our Sand-Salt Storage Facility. This year New York State imposed a 2% cap on Town tax increases throughout the State over the next five years. Our improvements have reduced future operating expenses and the Board fully expects Town tax levels to remain unchanged or even reduced over the next few years.
2012 Budget is online
The purpose of this letter is to update you on what has happened and what we anticipate for the remainder of 2012.
The New York State Controllers Office has chosen not to audit the Town, but recommended the Town still perform an independent audit. The independent audit of our financial processes was completed in November 2011 by the audit firm of Pattison Koskey Howe & Bucci. The audit firm did not identify any significant issues with Town’s financial processes or reporting. They also assisted the Town in conforming to the State’s new reporting requirements. Residents can obtain a copy of the Audit at Town Hall.
Employee Healthcare Insurance
The costs of providing healthcare insurance have increased 10%-15% annually over the last few years. To avoid these increases we began researching alternative policies and methods of funding our employee healthcare. We chose a policy which allowed the Town to ‘self-insure’ an initial portion of the healthcare costs for our employees by funding a Health Reimbursement Account (HRA); therefore significantly reducing the annual insurance premiums paid to the healthcare provider. This change resulted in a 1.0% decrease to the Town’s healthcare costs and also significantly reduced the out-of-pocket co-pay costs for our employees.
Sand-Salt Storage Facility
The Town’s Sand-Salt Storage Facility was completed in November 2011 and in full use during the winter. Total project cost was $27,000 below budget. The Highway Department’s extraordinary job on site preparation shortened construction time and saved the Town over $22,000 in out of pocket expenses. Total cost for the project to the Town was just over $500,000.
3,800 tons of sand and salt were stored in the building and only 1,800 tons were used during the mild winter. The Town does not need old tires and tarps to try and protect the remaining material anymore. Highway personnel do not need to empty their trucks of cement like chunks of sand clogging and damaging the sanding equipment during a storm. Storm response time was improved, thousands of dollars were saved in unprotected, unusable sand and salt, and more importantly the constant dispersion of salt (potassium chloride) into our wetlands has finally stopped.
This year the Highway Department will replace various culverts and remaining old guardrails on Frisbee Street and repave approximately five miles of paved road. The Town has already accepted bids for summer improvements to the Highway Garage and painting the Garage and the Storage Building just east of the Garage the same color as the new Sand-Salt Shed. The area around the Sand-Salt Shed and Garage will be re-graded and seeded with grass in the fall. We will also erect a new Highway Department sign. The Town Board is also considering replacing our oldest large truck this year, originally manufactured in 1994.
Transfer Station Contract Amendment
In December 1991 the Canaan Town Board approved a contract allowing a private waste-to-energy company, Energy Answers Inc., to build a Solid Waste Transfer Station near the B-3 access to Interstate 90 in Canaan. Energy Answers also purchased the adjacent trucking company, formerly known as Rouse Trucking, to transport the solid waste from the Station and operate the scales. The contract’s term was for twenty (20) years beginning when the Station became operational. Construction and permitting time delayed the Station’s commencement of operations until March16, 1995. The current contract expires on March 15, 2015.
In 2007 another waste-to-energy company, Covanta Energy Inc., purchased the Station from Energy Answers. The waste transportation and weighing portion of the business was simultaneously sold to We Care Transportation. The contract was constructed to survive any change in ownership and both companies continue to honor their respective responsibilities outlined in the original contract today.
The Original Contract
To promote business growth the State of New York granted Energy Answers an Industrial Development Agency (IDA) property tax exemption. These tax exemptions, which are still available today, exempt a new business from School, County, and Town taxes on the developed portion of the property for up to a twenty year term. The municipality where the IDA exemption is utilized has final approval over the project by means of its Planning and Town Boards. This gives the municipality leverage to negotiate a Payment In Lieu Of Taxes (PILOT) with the new business. PILOT negotiations can result in various forms of monetary and service compensation.
Canaan’s Town Board at that time recognized the strong desire by Energy Answers to locate at B-3 and negotiated an extraordinarily lucrative PILOT for the Town for the twenty year term of the IDA tax exemption. The PILOT consisted of two forms of compensation due to the Town on the Station’s commencement of operations.
1. Canaan residents with proper identification were allowed to bring their garbage, otherwise known as Municipal Solid Waste (MSW), and Construction and Demolition material (C&D) to the Station at no charge, with certain limitations. Over the past seventeen years this has saved Canaan residents hundreds of thousands of dollars in costs versus using County facilities or private vendors and avoided the environmental consequences from burning or burying waste.
2. The Town itself received a ‘host fee’ calculated using the total waste tonnage brought to the Station each month from non-Canaan sources multiplied by a dollar value per ton. In 1995 the dollar value contractually began at $1.50 per ton and grew annually by the Consumer Price Index (CPI). In 2011 the dollar value per ton was $2.27. The range of tonnage being delivered to the Station has varied over the years, but we can estimate that the ‘host fee’ the Town has received over the last seventeen years approached two million dollars.
When Covanta Energy purchased the Station in 2007 the IDA tax exemptions, which were only applicable to the original developer (Energy Answers), ended automatically. Both Covanta Energy and We Care Transportation have been paying all School, County, Town and Special District property taxes since their purchase in 2007.
The Current Situation
As mentioned earlier the original contract expires on March 15, 2015 and the Town’s PILOT will expire. There is no option in the contract for the Town to extend it. Upon the contract’s expiration Covanta Energy would operate as any other private business in Canaan without having to pay a ‘host fee’ to the Town and would no longer be obligated to accept any Canaan garbage, MSW or C&D, for free. The Town researched many relevant municipal laws with our attorney and the Association of Towns and found nothing in the law to support leveraging an extension under the current terms.
Nevertheless the Town Board, with a weak negotiating position, began discussions with Covanta representatives about extending the contract. Why now, why not wait until it’s over? The Board wanted to avoid putting residents in an eleventh-hour position of losing Town revenue and scrambling to find ways to dispose of their garbage at the same time. The original contract states that both parties can agree to amend the terms of the contract prior to its expiration. The Board felt that the most important priority was to secure an extension of free garbage for Canaan residents beyond the contract’s expiration date, and not a continued ‘host fee’ payment to the Town. Working with Covanta we negotiated an extension that we feel is favorable for the residents of Canaan. The following is a summary of the important amendments.
1. Free garbage for Canaan residents has been extended from the contract’s original expiration date of March 15, 2015 to December 31, 2020, nearly an additional six years. Some alterations to amounts and times of garbage being brought to the Station will be applied, but for most residents these changes will not be relevant.
2. The Town will reduce the ‘host fee’ it was calculated to receive from Covanta in 2012 from a blended rate of $2.30 per ton to $1.20 per ton and eliminate it completely for the remainder of the original contract. This collective amount of ‘host fee’ deferral will be used to prepay the additional years of free garbage for Canaan residents mentioned above. Although the loss in annual revenue approximates $120,000 per year to the Town, the Board has already identified the expense savings in future budgets to offset it. In other words, there will be no Town property tax increase because of the loss in Transfer Station revenue.
3. Total Canaan waste disposal has averaged 754 tons annually from 2008 to 2011. The amended contract will allow a maximum of 750 tons per year. Any excess of the 750 tons will be charged to the Town at a rate of $69.62 per ton in 2012. The rate will increase by 2.5% annually for the term of the contract.
4. Saturday hours for receiving all types of resident waste will remain the same from 8:00am to 12:00pm. Wednesday hours will be changed to 3:30pm to 5:30pm and only MSW, normal household garbage, will be allowed at the garbage trucks on the lower level of the Station.
5. The amended agreement between the Town and Covanta will survive any ownership changes of the Station. If the Station ceases operations before the expiration of the amended contract Covanta will rebate the unused portion of the ‘host fee’ back to the Town.
The Town will now produce as well as distribute all permit stickers. Permit stickers will be valid for two years and must be affixed to a passenger side window. The Town will begin distributing 2013-2014 permit stickers in November of this year. Your current 2011 permit stickers will remain valid until 12/31/2012. Rules for eligibility of permit stickers will be consistent with the original contract. Rules will be available at Town Hall.
Limits on Waste Volume
The amended contract essentially limits Canaan residents to 750 tons of waste per year. Over the past few years MSW, normal household waste, brought to the garbage trucks at the lower level of the Station has averaged 550 tons per year. The average MSW Canaan households bring to the Station each year is less than three quarters of a ton of garbage (1,500 pounds) per household. However, C&D, which includes construction and demolition material and bulky items such as appliances, furniture and mattresses, brought to the upper level of the Station using Maintenance Permits (MP), has averaged 200 tons per year. In 2011 over 400 MPs were issued and C&D rose to 290 tons or 35% of the total Canaan waste brought to the Station.
In view of the fact that the Town is prepaying for Canaan’s waste disposal for an additional six years and is limited to the 750 tons annually without penalty, the Town Board must insure that the volume of waste being brought to the Station is equitably distributed amongst all residents.
Limits on MSW, or normal household waste, being delivered on Saturdays and Wednesdays will be consistent with the original contract. Maintenance Permits (MP) for C&D will have amended limits beginning January 1st 2013 in the number per residence per year, tonnage per MP and one month duration per MP; however this will not affect most residents who normally use MPs. Rules for using MPs will be available at Town Hall.
Commercial Businesses, as under the original contract, will be allowed permit stickers and maintenance permits but are subject to the same rules as residents.
Under the amended contact, Covanta agreed to give the Canaan Town Board complete discretion over adjusting eligibility and limits for Permit Stickers and Maintenance Permits on an annual basis during the remainder of the amended agreement to adhere to the 750 ton annual limit.
• Included in this letter is a summary of Canaan’s 2012 Budget. The intent is to show you how much our Town spends or reserves, and where our revenues come from. It also gives you a comparative view of how much we pay in various property taxes. If you know of anyone who does not receive a copy of this letter, there are additional copies at Town Hall.
• As a reminder to our residents who own dogs, please make sure they have a rabies vaccination and are licensed at Town Hall for both you and your dog’s safety. Cats that have access to the outdoors should also have a rabies vaccination.
• We would also like to remind residents using open vehicles to transport garbage to the Transfer Station that State law requires materials be secured or covered so they do not leave the vehicle during transport. Please take the extra time to secure materials so they do not end up on our roads.
• The Town Summer Youth Recreation Program begins July 2th and ends August 10th, Monday-Friday. Sign up at Adams Point Beach 9am-12m and Stoddard Field 1pm-4pm – bring a copy of your immunization record. As an addition to this year’s program the Canaan Library is participating in the New York State Summer Reading Program which will take place each Friday at 1:30pm from July 6th through August 10th.
• Adams Point Beach hours are Monday-Thursday 12pm to 6pm, Friday 12pm to 7pm, Saturday 10am to 7pm and Sunday 10am to 6pm. Please contact the Town Hall for information on summer membership and daily beach pass costs.
The Board wishes to extend our thanks to our resourceful, professional Highway Department, our invaluable and knowledgeable employees and Justices, and all our volunteers on various boards and committees for their generous assistance to Town officials and the community. We would also like to thank our volunteer Fire Companies, our ambulance service - Chatham Rescue Squad, and our New York State and Columbia County Police for their continued dedicated service to our communities’ public safety.
Thanks and have a great summer!
Questions? Suggestions? Use Contact the Town.
2012 Budget is online
The Canaan Town Hall is located on County Route 5, just south of the
intersection with NY State Route 295.
Our physical address is: 1647 County Route 5, Canaan NY
The mailing address is PO Box 459, Canaan, NY 12029.
Our physical address is: 1647 County Route 5, just off NY Route 295
The Canaan Town Clerk's hours are:
Monday & Wednesday & Thursday & Friday from 9:30 AM to 2:30 PM
Thursday 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM
The Clerk's office can be reached at (518)781-3144, ext. 1. If you have a question about the town, the Clerk probably has the answer! So give her a call or feel free to stop by.